Let Me Hear from You
The Year in Review
2011. What a year. The weather was all over the map—snows of historic proportions early in the season, earthquakes, hurricanes, droughts, torrential rains, etc. The U.S. and World economies struggled to make a comeback and there was record unemployment, the not-so-Super Committee, the European and U.S. debt crisis, etc. We all had our own personal issues—many of us lost loved ones, dealt with illnesses, tried to reconcile our personal and professional finances in light of the downturned economy, and more. It’s a difficult task to look at the year in review and report all that happened because each of experienced the year in our own personal way. All of the experiences, good and bad, had an impact and we learned from all of it. I think that is good thing. We learn from the successes and failures, trials and tribulations, and we move forward.
So, with 2012 looming ahead of us, and 2011 in the rear-view mirror, we can’t rest on our laurels nor focus on missed opportunities. We have to continue to participate, to achieve, to engage, to cooperate, to enjoy, to acknowledge, and to act.
We continue to participate in elevating the profession of audiology through daily implementation of the highest standard of care and service delivery for our patients, regardless of what alternative models are developed and deployed. We achieve recognition by our legislators (through the passage of direct access) and our regulators (through participation on the CPT-HCPAC) so that these folks are clear as to who provides the highest level of ethical care for patients with hearing and balance disorders. We engage each other in collegial, productive (often heated) discussions on the tough issues as the profession continues to evolve and mature, and we do this with the utmost respect. We cooperate with other like-minded organizations to rally support for projects and initiatives that advance the profession, and improve accessibility and affordability of hearing and balance wellness and healthcare, and by our actions, we take ownership of the outcomes.
A Few Updates/Outcomes:
UHC: Through our collective participation and efforts, we are making headway in the discussions with United HealthCare and their recently deployed “hearing benefit” for their subscribers and their efforts, through hi Health Innovations, to make OTC hearing devices available to consumers following an online hearing screening. We have provided a plethora of information to support individual members and state organizations to respond to this inadequate delivery of hearing healthcare. As a field, we are helping UHC as well as consumers and our patients, to understand that the hearing aid is but a part of a comprehensive treatment plan – it is not the sole solution.
Direct Access: Because of our collective action and engagement, as of this writing, we are up to 45 co-sponsors in the House of Representatives but we need many more. Direct access will improve the choices Medicare beneficiaries have for hearing and balance care and this is long overdue. Take a few minutes to link into the Academy’s Advocacy Web page to send a letter to your duly elected representative to ask them to co-sponsor (or thank them for co-sponsoring), and encourage all of your colleagues, co-workers, patients, family, and friends to do the same. This is the right legislative move for the profession. Remember: More co-sponsors = a louder voice on Capitol Hill.
Continuing Education: For your professional (and personal) enjoyment, be sure to register for AudiologyNOW!, March 28–31, 2012, in Boston, MA. There is nothing like this international convention for continuing education, networking, updates, socializing, and fun! In addition, the Academy’s ever-burgeoning eAudiology Web seminars are contemporary, thoughtful, and a great way to spend your time and precious continuing education dollars.
Remember: we have outlined our Preferred Futures and they include you and me. These Futures start now…just like 2012—the Year of the Dragon in the Chinese calendar. The only animal in the Chinese zodiac that is legendary…just like all of us!
Happy New Year!